Have you ever wondered what would happen if you could fuse a burger with a batch of melty, creamy, breadcrumb-crusted macaroni and cheese? Chances are, probably not. After all, most people top their beef with a modest slice of cheddar or American cheese and call it a day.
But the folks at The Ainsworth in New York have dared to dream, combining the best attributes of a juicy burger and a pan of homemade mac and cheese, pulled straight from the oven. By coating their mac and cheese with panko crumbs and giving it a quick dip into the fryer, they create little mac and cheese patties that will hold their shapes on the burgers, even in spite of their molten insides.
The Ainsworth Mac & Cheese Burger
Ingredients for 4 mac and cheese patties
- 1 1/3 cup béchamel
- ¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- ¼ cup sharp provolone
- 1/8 cup parmesan
- 4 cup cooked macaroni
- 1 tbsp salt
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 eggs, beaten lightly
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- vegetable oil for frying
- In a medium saucepan, mix the cheddar, provolone, and parmesan into the béchamel sauce over low heat until the cheeses are melted. Stir in the macaroni until it is completely coated with the sauce. Spread half of the mixture evenly on a baking tray and place into the freezer until frozen, reserving the other half for the burger assembly. Once it’s frozen, use a ring mold or a round cookie cutter to cut out a disc of frozen mac and cheese.
- Dip the patty into flour and shake off the excess. Then dip the patty into the eggs, allowing any excess to drip off. Then dip into the panko breadcrumbs, being sure to cover on all sides. Repeat this pattern of dipping one more time.
- Heat a medium-sized saucepan of vegetable oil (or a deep fryer) to 350ºF. Drop the mac and cheese patties in (in batches if you need to), and cook each one for about 3 minutes, or until the crust is golden-brown.
Ingredients for 4 burgers
- 4 sesame brioche rolls
- 4 mac and cheese patties
- 4 8 oz beef patties (The Ainsworth uses Schweid & Sons)
- 4 slices of sharp provolone
- 4 slices of cheddar cheese
- remaining mac & cheese
- Lightly season the beef patties with salt and pepper. On a hot grill, cook them for about 4 minutes on each side.
- Assemble each burger on a brioche roll with a slice of each type of cheese, one of the mac and cheese patties, and a scoop of the mac and cheese.